I study fairy lore.

This isn't a statement about studying religions of the worlds or anything, I actually spend quite bit of my free time researching and reading about fairy mythology. I find it interesting.

In a way, fairies were the original gap fillers. Those things that acted with no understandable rhyme or reason, things that killed babies or blighted crops. Called the "Good Folk" so as not to offend them. I love reading about them. I have volumes on the subject.

What I really love is how fairy dis-belief eventually got connected to the death of them. There is something truly satisfying about killing an unfeeling powerful monster by simply coming to understand the world better.

Of course, there is a downside to having such a hobby. For me it's being called a "magical atheist." Oh, and the weirdos who ask me how to summon them.

Really it's just the weirdos now that I think about it. I don't mind being called magical all that much (harmless ribbing.)

I have come to assume that most of the adult world does not actually believe in fairies, so when faced with one who does I am usually taken aback. I mean... isn't learning that the tooth fairy is a story a minor milestone in growing up?

So when a young woman I know asked me how she could contact fairies I was torn between prattling off the lore I have greedily consumed for the better part of a decade or screaming as I ran off, instead I came back with:

"Well in the old days people would leave out special cakes and cream to appease the fae, but it wasn't to invite them to dinner. The good folk were known for stealing babies and brides, especially brides in arranged marriages and babies born to impoverished families. Strange coincidence right? I mean of all the people they could steal away they chose the unhappy and the malnourished, it's almost like--Hey! Where are you going?"

Oh well, I guess it's about time I offended someone other than the Abrahamic-god followers.

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Comment by matt.clerke on July 15, 2013 at 10:55pm

Heh, I find this sort of mythology interesting too.

Comment by Physeter on July 16, 2013 at 1:16am

Do you ever run across Christians who think that fairies were real, but were actually deamons or evil spirits?

Comment by Ward Cressin on September 29, 2013 at 3:28am

That's cool. I've done a little studying of vampire lore. One of the things I find interesting is that today, we try to categorize those myths and legends yet they blend together if you step back and do a meta-study of them. I'm sure you can point out fairy legends which have vampire or werewolf or witch elements.

Comment by Watchman on September 29, 2013 at 4:04pm

Found this the other day & wondered if it might be of interest to you....

Although you might want to revise the term "Good Folk"

Fighting fairytales: Strange stories of Scottish battles

An imported weapon has been blamed for the Scots defeat in battle 500 years ago. But even less conventional arms - and characters - have decided other conflicts involving Scotland.

Flodden on 9 September 1513 was one of Scotland's worst defeats in battle against the English.

Casualties on the Scots side were heavy. Among the 10,000 killed were King James IV, 12 earls, 13 barons, five heirs to titles, three bishops and two abbots.

Pikes, 18ft-long weapons imported from France to be added to the Scots' armoury, have been blamed by an expert for leading to the huge losses becaus....

But the outcomes of other battles in Scotland's distant past have been decided by even more unusual weapons and fighters.

According to local legend, Perthshire's Battle of Luncarty had an army of Scots facing defeat to a force of Danes.

But the fight of AD990 was turned to the home side's advantage when a farmer and his two sons stepped forward and battered the invaders with plough yokes.

Danes also feature in two other historic tales of battle.

At Tauch Hill at Kintore, near Aberdeen, the local residents helped King Kenneth II to victory by driving cattle covered in oak leaves at the Danish lines.

The rout of the Danes is celebrated on Kintore's coat of arms. It shows a shield, an oak tree and two horned bulls standing up on their back legs.

In the 13th Century, the Battle of Embo in the Highlands pitched fighters loyal to the Earl of Sutherland against a Danish force.

The earl is said to have sealed victory when he felled the invaders' leader with the severed leg of a horse.

Pregnant wives

Among unusual names for conflicts include July 1544's Blar na Leinne, Gaelic for Battle of the Shirt.

Also known as Battle of the Shirts, it marked a violent escalation in a dispute over the leadership of Clanranald, one of the most powerful branches of Clan Donald.

About 300 Frasers and Macintoshes led by Lord Lovat and Ranald Gallda, pretender to the chiefdom, were attacked by as many as 600 MacDonalds and Camerons led by John Moidartach of Moidart, chief of Clan MacDonald of Clanranald.

The clash was fought at the head of Loch Lochy on flat ground between Loch Lochy and Loch Oich in Lochaber.

Because of the warm weather, the fighters are said to have only worn long shirts under their chain-mail and armour.

One account tells of 80 of the slaughtered Frasers leaving pregnant wives at home. All the women later gave birth to baby boys who went on to help the clan to recover from its losses at Blar na Leine.

One of the strangest accounts of warfare must be August 1598's Blar Thraigh Ghruinneirt - the Battle of Gruinart.

Normally the mention of fairies conjures up images of elfin-like little people who decorate spider webs with dew drops, or reward a child for a lost tooth.

But the fairy that appeared at Gruinart was more likely to be found knocking teeth out than collecting them.

The battle was the last significant clan conflict fought on Islay. It pitted Sir Lachlan Mor MacLean, the 14th Chief of Duart, against his nephew Sir James MacDonald of Islay.

Legend tells of Dubh Sith - the Black Fairy - arriving from the nearby island of Jura just before the battle began and offering his services as an archer to MacLean.

The chieftain insulted the fairy and sent him away.

The enraged Dubh Sith then joined MacDonald's side and went on to succeed in shooting and killing MacLean. The spot where he is said to have died is marked by a cairn today.

MacDonald went on to win the battle. It was later recalled in a poem which last year was sung by a Gaelic choir.

A fairytale is also attached to the MacLeods of Dunvegan Castle on Skye.

Unfurling the Fairy Flag, a gift from a fairy maiden, is said to have turned the tide of a battle in the clan's favour.

In reality, the fabric is thought to have been made in the Middle East and to have been a relic of the Crusades.


Comment by Yahweh on September 30, 2013 at 9:24am

"I have come to assume that most of the adult world does not actually believe in fairies"

what do you mean? Lots of people believe in sky fairies..

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on September 30, 2013 at 1:23pm

In Ireland we have a saying to describe people that have lost touch with reality. We say that they are “away with the fairies”.  The mythology of spirits and the Underworld was a major part of the culture. Most rural areas would have their own local legends and most would date back centuries, even back to pagan times.

Some places are even older……

Comment by Physeter on September 30, 2013 at 11:30pm

I think it would be fun to study fairies, it's so interesting how the world seemed like such a different place to people in those times. It's fun for me also to think of what kinds of fictional worlds could exist if we took some of those old beliefs as if they were true.


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